February Membership Meeting

February Membership Meeting

CVFAC Membership Meeting, February 7, 2011
COTR Greenhouse Classroom
23 members were in attendance.

7:08 Call to order by president Gail Southall.

Gail passed out COTR registration forms because Food Action is operated as a part time vocational course. Members and interested parties who have not yet filled in a form are asked to please pick one up from the college or email the following information to bmccaull@cotr.bc.ca:
Course: Creston Valley Food Action Coalition
Birthdate (including year):

1. Visitors’ Guide Report: Gail
The Farm Fresh Guide centerfold is already done and looks great. Extremely limited time was granted for updates before it went to print so Gail did the best she could.

2. CBT Workshop: Gail
Gail, Jeanne, and Len attended the CBT grant workshop that gave valuable information on the application process. Many of our programs are dependant on funding, especially Harvest Share.
Harvest Share has already applied for 2011 grants from CBT and Interior Health.
Farmers’ Market plans to apply to Interior Health

3. Farmers’ Market Fundraising Opportunity: Gail
Vendors say the biggest need at the market is hot prepared food. The FAC would like to rent the mobile kitchen from the Fire Department for 3 Saturdays over the summer at a cost of $100 per week, with the idea of preparing a local, seasonal meal, probably a breakfast item. Ideas include a pancake breakfast with in-season fruit, or egg sandwich breakfasts. The commitment includes the cost of renting the mobile kitchen, the cost of the food, and 3-4 volunteers per session.

The mobile kitchen does not have an oven, only a two-burner range and a grill. Food cannot be prepared in home kitchens and brought on site, and cannot contain high risk ingredients. Menus need to go past David Butt and the Fire Hall.

The current plan is to operate this kitchen one Saturday a month in each of the summer months: July, August, and September. Several people volunteered to participate. More are needed.

4. Membership dues are $25 per household per year. COTR gives a discount to CVFAC members for related courses.

5. Other volunteer opportunities exist within CVFAC. Harvest Share needs a 3-person committee to help operate the program with Alexandra. Other volunteer opps include: Home & Garden Show, Blossom Fest, sitting at the FAC booth on Farmers’ Market Saturdays.

6. Valerie read the financial statement provided by bookkeeper Denise Jaeger.

7. Farmers’ Market: Jen
Creston Valley Advance ran a front-page story today about the successful 2010 market year. Jen and the committee have been meeting for 4-hour meetings every week in planning for 2011. She reports that a $10,000 grant from Town of Creston, Kootenay Rockies Tourism, and RDCK has been secured and spent on a Kootenay wide ad campaign in 6 different papers and visitors’ guides, billboards, seating, tables, website, and other marketing materials.

The Spring Farmers’ Market begins May 7 and will be held at Millenium Park. Vendor stalls will be $15 each. Permanent stalls are available. Almost confirmed is a midweek market at Spirit Square during July-September. Weekday and time still to be finalized.

The Autumn FM will operate from Morris Greenhouse again this year for Oct-Dec.

Jen reminds everyone she needs volunteers with setting up and taking down the market throughout the season, as well as to sit at the FAC booth.

8. Community Greenhouse: Anita
The winter harvest research project has been running 2 years and is now officially completed. The greenhouses are opening to public March 1 for the Spring Seeders program Also in March, two grade 3 classes will begin coming once a week to learn about gardening, until mid-June. There’s also an after-school program three days a week: two for 6-10 year olds, and one for 10-13s.

The greenhouse has two current projects: xeriscape over part of the grounds in front of the college, and a heritage garden built with the seniors and Lower Kootenay Band, which includes sidewalks to be wheelchair friendly in both new greenhouses). There will be an intergenerational program consisting of folks from Swan Valley Lodge, TAPS, and Family Place so that six families can learn from experienced gardeners together.

So far there are no work experience students lined up for 2011, but volunteers are needed for helping with the after-school groups and general gardening.

Seedy Saturday will take place March 12 at New Life Church from 1-4pm. More people with seeds to trade, give away, or sell are needed.

9. Value Added and Agritourism Forum: Anita
Will be put on by Cranbrook COTR at the Creston campus March 18-20. A market safe course will also be available.

10. Expansion plans for COTR: Jen
Jen has been hired to complete a feasibility study for a community kitchen, lab, and permanent home for the Farmers’ Market as part of a broader COTR expansion plan. She’s discovered the concept is known as an Incubator Kitchen, a commercial space to rent out to value added cooks, business services, and to house workshops on local foods through the college. Focus groups coming up over the next month. If you’d like to be included, contact Jen.

11. Greenheart: Jeanne
Meetings take place on the second Monday of each month, the next meeting taking place on Valentine’s Day.

12. Grain CSA: Donna — no news yet for 2011 season

13. Commercial herb and spice growers: Donna
The AGM will be held on March 17 in Creston. The day will include a farm business planning workshop and a dinner featuring local foods by Renee’s Restaurant.

14. Let’s Grow: Pat
The FAC is planning a new initiative to formalize seed saving in the valley by setting up a seed registry. The purpose of our organization is to make sure we have good safe nutritious food, and to ensure this, we need to save our own seeds. Reasons: conflicts, storms, or climate change may mean we’d have difficulty attaining seeds. Also we need plants suited for our land and climate (a land race). Monsanto has taken over most of the seed companies–their only interest is profit, so diversity will be going down.

Saving seeds is simple to do. People have been doing it for ten thousand years so we can figure it out, too.

Why start talking about it now, in February? Because we’ll soon be buying seeds for this summer’s garden. Make sure you purchase open-pollinated or heirloom seeds so that their seeds can be saved. Some plants take up a lot of extra room when allowed to go to seed, so make sure you save space in your garden for this.

When you plant hybrid seeds and then harvest the seed and plant it, you don’t know what you’ll get the next year. It’s unlikely to be what you expect.

If you haven’t saved seeds before, try easy ones such as peas, beans, tomatoes, and peppers. These are mostly self-fertilizing so won’t cross with other plants. Lettuce cross-pollinates, so only grow one variety if you want the seeds. Carrots and onions are bi-annual, so must be left until year two, when they will bear seed. Tag your plants so you know what variety it is. Each participant should only promise one to two kinds of seeds for the registry per year so as not to get overwhelmed. We plan to add the seed registry to the website.

If you would like to grow seed for the registry this year, please contact Pat Huet.

To find out more about seed saving, check out http://www.seedsanctuary.com. There’s also a BC Food Systems network seed saving listserv. Ask for details on joining if you’re interested.

15. Farm Fresh Guide: Pat
Pat needs volunteers to phone each entry from the previous FFG to confirm their entry. We’d like to expand the guide to include restaurants that serve local food.

16. Permaculture Talk: Valerie
Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture in Calgary will give a three-hour introduction to permaculture this Thursday, February 10, 6:30 pm, in the Erickson Room at the Rec Centre. $5.00 per person entry will go to local initiatives.

17. To learn more about the provincial government’s water initiatives go to http://blog.gov.bc.ca/livingwatersmart/

18. KLAS: Michael Byrne
Kootenay Local Agricultural Society (http:www.klasociety.org) was formed to support farmers and growers in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. This support takes the form of initiatives that will foster the economic viability of all farms in the region, which in turn, will encourage new farms in the area. Their vision is for a thriving food shed, with an abundant supply of locally and sustainably produced organic foods, readily available to all area residents.

Michael says he joined KLAS in 2009 and joined the board the same day. His background is as a statistician in agriculture, and he recommends each of us send letter to our MP against GMO alfalfa through this site: http://www.cban.ca/474action.

Jeremy and Nettie Lack began KLAS in 2003. By 2008 the movement had grown to 30 ordinary members and 5 KMG (Kootenay Mountain Grown organic certification) transitional members. In 2009 the numbers were 75/15, and in 2010 99/18. In Creston, KMG members include Kootenay Alpine Cheese, Garden Hoe, Mo and Mikey, Full Circle Farm, and Goat River Mushrooms.

The mission is not-for-profit local agricultural and products, supporting sustainable agriculture and business within the region. There is an extremely extensive tool library as well as one of books, recorded lectures, videos, virtual library (CDs), beekeeping resources, and seedsaving.

Michael suggests the FAC might work jointly with KLAS on regional seed registry.

Kootenay Mountain Grown standards: new farms are self-certified from within group. Information on sensible and realistic standards and practices is available on the website.

There are eight directors from seven regions within the Kootenays. Two of these directors are from the Creston Valley.

KLAS’s challenges are much the same as most non-profits. Funding is always a big need, though member and producer fees do help. Other challenges include the pressure of GMO crops and the need for volunteers for the seed registry and to give lectures.

One membership perk Michael appreciates is the Voice of the Mountains newsletter. He says it is worthwhile to join KLAS just for the resources. While the library is in Castlegar, some equipment is stored at Full Circle Farm (Gailius) in Creston.

AGM: Maureen Byrne and Joanne Gailius are setting up a local food feature for the KLAS AGM on March 16.

Volunteer opportunity: Creston representatives needed for the GE FREE KOOTS campaign.

16. Other Reports:
Randy says that food freedom day is Feb 12 (when we’ve earned enough money to pay for food the year). He adds that $2.7 BILLION of food is wasted annually, most of it at consumer level.

Cassandra has seeds to sell tonight: tomatoes, dry beans, and others.

The next membership meeting will be held March 7 at 4pm at the College Greenhouse classroom. Tammy Hardwick of the museum will present on the lost industries of the Creston Valley, including many agricultural initiatives of the past.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:38 pm.

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